“Children need to know that they are worthy” with Aurora Bushner and Chaya Weiner

Children need to know that they are worthy. If parents, the ones who made them, do not spend time with them, it shows the child they aren’t worthy, and it will simply make the children take that feeling of unworthiness out into their life. It is simply the most damaging action a parent can do. I […]

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Children need to know that they are worthy. If parents, the ones who made them, do not spend time with them, it shows the child they aren’t worthy, and it will simply make the children take that feeling of unworthiness out into their life. It is simply the most damaging action a parent can do.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Aurora Bushner. Aurora is the Executive Vice President for Incentive Technology Group accountable for strategic leadership of the company’s delivery and operations. She successfully established the delivery frameworks and practices for agile software development at scale for this unique, pure play digital consulting firm. With a focus on detail, accountability, quality, and transparency, she manages a workforce of over 400 people with an annual run rate of $100M delivering IT systems modernization and business transformation for government and commercial clients, all while balancing a blended family of 8 (her partner Toga, 19-year-old Mikayla, 13-year-old Ariana, 11-year-old Torrie, 8-year-old Aiden, 3-year-old Adam, and 1-year-old Alex). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Legal Studies from Marshall University where she was awarded the Criminal Justice Student of the Year and the Wallace E. Knight Writing Award. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, coaching rugby, and watching her children grow into themselves.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I was born in Yuma, Arizona and spent my childhood as an Army “Brat.” I moved every 1–3 years and had the great pleasure of living in Germany (I was there when the Berlin Wall came down!) and nine different states. Growing up with a military dad, it wasn’t unusual for him to be deployed for significant amounts of time. In fact, we spent an entire year without him when he was deployed to the first Gulf War. Whenever he came home from a long stint away, we had our rituals that helped pull us together. I still remember being small and running to greet my dad at the door when he returned from work and fighting with my siblings to see who could unlace his military boots!

Whether my dad was home or deployed, my mom stayed home with us and created an environment where she was always present. As a family we camped, took long road trips driving for days, saw the world together, and experienced the magic of Christmas, Easter, and the tooth fairy. These traditions have been passed down to my children, and in these moments, I am fully present and create magic for them just as my mom and dad did for me.

Our house was the one that everyone gravitated towards, and although my parents were laid back and understanding, they were also strict. I think I spent most of 9th grade grounded and being called Cinderella by friends because of the huge amount of daily chores I had to do! One particular punishment I had was to write sentences like “I will not talk back to my parents” 1,000 times and could not go outside until I was finished. For more elaborate punishments that my parents would dish out, I would enlist my friends to divvy up my punishment. It was a great way to reflect and at the same time rally my peers to help me in my punishment! However, my parents got smart to my games and started assigning me 5 page book reports on books that weren’t even required in school. Of course, at the time, I didn’t like the punishments, but the constructive discipline I received created a structure for me to perform and made me a self-starter who will do what it takes to get the job done. It also taught me problem-solving and how to do something right the first time. Believe me, my dad even checked the back of the sink’s faucet to see if I had cleaned it. If not, I had to do it all again!

I was a shy child but very driven. Moving around all the time could have caused negative developmental issues, but for me, it actually helped me to hone resilience, embrace the fact that everyone has a choice on how they choose to view the world, and to lead a life of faith and gratitude. In 11th grade, I moved from Germany to Virginia leaving a junior class of 36 to join a junior class that numbered in the thousands. This really taught me to embrace change! Looking back, my childhood was pivotal in my development as a great parent and executive. I learned to multitask, solve problems creatively, appreciate teamwork (thanks to playing volleyball, soccer, track and field, and rugby!) and create a space that allows me to be fully present in both my work and my family today.

Growing up in a family whose values enabled us to each be an individual, chart our own path but have the comfort of knowing that no matter what I did, my family would be there for me, gave me the safety net required to take risks, fail, and find new opportunities for greatness.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

A lot of amazing mentors and colleagues brought me to this point in my career. For my entire life, I have been fortunate to be surrounded by very smart people from diverse backgrounds. Each person I have encountered has taught me something about myself, about the world, and about others. I started my career at IntelliDyne where I spent 13 years in various roles reinventing what I did every 12–18 months and was lucky enough to be given the ropes to learn, to fail, to succeed and to lead. Doug Hardin, the first Program Manager I ever met, gave me the book Something to Smile About, by Zig Ziglar. Business was something I knew little about growing up in a military family, and the compilation of stories in Ziglar’s book provided a breadth of experiences and anecdotes for living a life of greatness. Scott Peterson, was my manager for several years and supported my drive and ambitious spirit in my early twenties by embracing my leadership style, and he supported me when my team sometimes found my young zest challenging. Moreover, he let me drive my career from a front desk administrator to a Senior Program Manager over several accounts because of my demonstration of competence while inspiring me to be my best. In 2013 I joined ITG. Working under the mentorship of Michelle Samad, I saw my career and our company flourish. Michelle is the epitome of a strong, humble, grateful, tenacious, inspirational leader, who operates with a personal touch, and is wicked smart, which enables our team to deliver against our corporate and family commitments.

I could not have made it to this point in my career without the support of my family and friends. My partner Toga, a pillar in my life and one of the biggest champions of my career, took care of the kids for the last eight years so that I could focus on my career. He raised our three sons from the time they were newborns once I returned to work. He ensured that the kids got to each practice, were picked up from school, and had dinner on the table. I also supported him in his role as a Rugby Coach for the Women’s Premier League, the Capital Select, the Washington Irish, the Stars, and now support him as he supports the Major League Rugby team Old Glory. We would balance our schedule and external demands together. When Toga recently went back to work and my parents retired to Arizona, my sister stepped in to share the love and support and now helps shuttle the kids to their activities and is the nanny to our 1-year-old. She, too, is a gift which supports my professional success. In earlier years, my parents and our friends were also quick to step in to watch the kids when we both had work trips or needed our coveted once a year trip to Las Vegas to watch the International Rugby 7’s tournament. I recently returned from a 10-day work trip. It really does take a village.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

Although my schedule varies, I try to be consistent in some aspects. For example, every Saturday morning, I wake-up before the rest of my family and plan my schedule for the following week. And every night, I review my schedule and priorities for the following day. During the weekdays, my mornings usually start at 6 am (sometimes earlier though if I have some work to accomplish), and before heading to work, I take our 3-year-old and 13-year-old to school. Thankfully, there are some some days that I go into work a little later, so I also take our 8-year-old to school at 9 am. After drop-offs and as I head to work, I’m usually on phone calls (safely, of course!) with my program managers trying to get caught up before I even step foot into the office. And if I’m not on the phone with them, then I take a few relaxing minutes to listen to the radio or call my parents or siblings to catch up. Once I get to work, my days are always different; I may travel to a client site, conduct team meetings, give presentations, write proposals, work on deliverables, or just do a little of everything.

Work ends at various times also. Networking, team events, client meetings, and mentoring others all takes place and needs to be juggled with kids’ activities. Some days I might get home at 5 pm and can support daycare pick-ups, sports activities, dinner, bath time, Zumba with the kids, bedtime and work after they go to bed. Other days, I might get home at 10 pm. When work demands more and there is less time with the family during the week, the weekends are used to make up that time. And when work demands less, I can focus more on my family. What really makes my schedule work effectively is flexibility and a sense of humor. Sometimes things may seem hectic and rushed, so having a sense of humor is an absolute must!

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

Spending time with one’s child/children is critical for their development because it helps create stability and consistency in behaviors and attributes. Parents teach children how to interact with their world, how to be polite and have manners, how to share and have empathy, and how to be kind and resolve conflict. With the support and guidance from their parents, children establish their identity as a person, learn independence and self-care, and they discover their talents, their strengths, and their weaknesses. They learn values and social cues. They learn how to pretend, how to play, how to have conversations and how to build relationships. They learn structure through chores and how to contribute to the family and in turn to the community and society at large. When you don’t make time, you don’t know your child’s skill level and ability, thus you won’t know where to stretch them or how to push them to grow.

By not making time for one’s children, it can be detrimental in advocating within areas where they may require extra support. They may seek attention through bad behavior; they may lack structure, because — let’s face it — if left alone they may play video games 24 hours a day! Without a parent or positive adult figure, children may have a tougher time becoming the person they are meant to be and applying their unique talents and skills to the world. In addition, it doesn’t provide the opportunity to create a bond and that safe secure relationship with someone that children know will always be there. I’m sure there are plenty of children who succeed in spite of absent parents, but I believe that children with a strong support system — be it parents, family members, friends, or community — have a better chance at success beginning at a very young age.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

This may be the shortest answer you’ve ever received but it’s quite simple. Children need to know that they are worthy. If parents, the ones who made them, do not spend time with them, it shows the child they aren’t worthy, and it will simply make the children take that feeling of unworthiness out into their life. It is simply the most damaging action a parent can do.

Children are constantly learning from their environments, from the people they interact with, and from their peers and families. It’s important to spend time with your children for the sake of their development. Creating a strong bond with your child ensures your child has trusting relationships with adults and their peers. It creates a loving and caring relationship that withstands both the good in life and the bad. It creates stability, consistency, and enables you, as a parent, to teach your child values. Spending time with your children makes them feel valued, and it also ensures that they have an advocate. It’s hard growing up and it’s even harder when a child faces developmental challenges, peer challenges, or identity challenges. Being present with children and ensuring consistency across all aspects of their life are keys to creating self-starters with an aptitude for success.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

I totally agree that quality of time is more important than quantity of time. My dad travelled a lot, and I came to understand that it was never about the quantity of time I got to spend with him; it was all about the quality of time he spent with me. When my dad was gone, my mom always made his absence feel less sad by giving us special moments, such as letting us sleep in her room, which was never allowed when he was home. Both my parents taught me the importance of quality time, which I now ensure to pass onto my children.

  1. An example of quality time with my children is seen with Friday movie/TV nights, which is a time to be silly with everyone. It’s not uncommon to find us dancing through commercial breaks, enjoying singing competitions, and performing whatever anyone wants to perform. It’s important for the family to know that home is a safe place to be yourself. Playing, acting silly, and just having fun as a family establishes security for everyone and gives children the needed sense of support. All the children learn that whatever happens outside the home, they have people who love them unconditionally and they always have friends and backup at home. Without this, children can be focused too much on peer acceptance. Given the difficult situations that our kids face on a day-to-day basis, it is paramount that they have this foundation, so if they do have to make unpopular decisions, they know that they have their family’s support.
  2. Everyone can tell when the person they are with isn’t fully present, and children aren’t any exception. They are fully aware that you’re not really spending time with them or paying attention to them when you’re looking around on your cell phone, tablet, or computer. You might have the best intentions and feel like you have the ability to be on your device and be present with your children. However, this is far from the truth, and children can feel upset when your attention is elsewhere. As adults, we’ve all experienced someone having their face buried in their phone as we’re trying to talk to them. Yes, it can be difficult to resist the urge to be on our devices, I’m not going to lie. But, ask yourself, is the device more important than your child and how they feel? Likely, the answer is no, so when I’m spending quality time with my children, my phone is not in my sight.
  3. As I mentioned earlier, I take the children to school and I know that morning time with them is very important, so I want to be a part of their morning and start their day on a positive note by talking about their life while giving time to discuss both the good things and the bad things going on in their lives. It is also a time when teenagers cannot run away while in the car, so I find that if they’re in a good mood, difficult conversations can take place. Taking each child to school one at a time instead of all together really gives me a chance to connect with them individually, whether we’re just talking about homework reminders or providing advice to guide them to make good choices.
  4. Staycations is a tradition for us and ensures excellent quality time. I enjoy quality time with my children while on Christmas or Spring Break, and we’ll even take short trips to the beach where I set aside focused time for each child and for all us together as a family.
  5. During my various maternity leaves, I was able to really focus on my children but also find a balance to stay in touch with work. I took advantage of long walks, exploring museums, cooking, and just being present with my children, drawing, creating, etc.
  6. When I am stressed with work and life, I have to reframe my mindset so I can be positive and patient with the children. I don’t always succeed at this, but I have become very mindful of my own emotional triggers and stressors. This is important to minimize the impact that my stress has on my children. In our home, we have quality time when we talk about emotions and we listen to hear one another and validate each other’s perspective. We’re also learning when to walk away in conflict and to regroup once tempers and teenage tantrums have dissipated. We established this after learning about the elephant and rider theory from Jonathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind. In a nutshell, this theory states that we think the rider is in control of the elephant. If the elephant is anxious or stressed, the rider or our brain cannot control the elephant. To have productive conversations, the elephant needs to be calm so rational conversation can take place. The quality of time with our children matter. Making time to have meaningful discussions, to hear them, and not just nag them is important.
  7. In our daughter’s teenage years, it was very important for me to be present and spend time with her when I could. It was also important for me to ensure she had a good social structure, friends, and activities to keep her occupied and less likely to engage in risky behaviors.
  8. My step daughter, Torrie, lives in New Jersey with her mother. Her mother and I work hard to ensure she also has quality time with our family. We coordinate vacations, attend school events, major dance performances, share videos and FaceTime together. I’m flexible in my plans so that we can ensure a solid relationship between Torrie, her siblings, and us. Quality time is rooted in the ability to create an environment where blended families can be successful.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

  1. On the weekends, I wake up early on Saturday and anything that I have that is time sensitive for work I take care of. I try to not recharge my phone for the weekend so it doesn’t interfere with my family. If there is a real emergency, they have Toga’s number! That being said, if I have schedule weekend work, I charge my phone 🙂
  2. As mentioned earlier, morning drop-offs are very important to me and I do my best to not schedule anything that would interfere with that.
  3. For sports games, recitals, and Taekwondo, I make it a point to do pick-ups and attend when there are important performances so my children know I support their activities. When I cannot attend, I ask other parents, family members or friends to take photos and videos for me so I can look at them with my children and discuss their day and their performance.
  4. I volunteer for field trips as much as I can. Finance Park, where children learn how to manage their finances, is one of my favorite field trips. At the park, they’re given an income and family, and watching that moment of where they understand this important life lesson is very rewarding. It also enables a situation where I can have a discussion with each child on why financial management is so important.
  5. When I have all the kids together, I try to make it a point to interact with them all as a family while also celebrating each of their unique skill sets. We play cars, Barbies, sports, and I even have them learning with me how to dance Siva Samoa and the Hula!
  6. It is important not to put a lot of demands on yourself to be the so called “perfect” parent and strive to have it all. I’ve redefined what “having it all” means in my life. It’s creating a loving family atmosphere where children are open with you when they have to be and understand that if they get in trouble, they can call and you will come no matter what. One of the things I taught Mikayla was that if she was ever in a situation where she felt peer pressured or was somewhere that had drugs or alcohol that she could text me and I would call her and say there was an emergency and would come get her so the pressure wasn’t on her. One day in 11th grade she and her friends went to a birthday party. Less than an hour after dropping them off, I got a call to come get them as there was drinking and drugs. I immediately stopped what I was doing, jumped in my car, drove there, and ten kids piled in. It was at that moment I realized I had done something right even with all the time I spent at work providing for my family. In that moment, I knew I had created a bond where she trusted me and her friends trusted me.
  7. I also make sacrifices in order to live close to where I work. I spent over 10 years commuting several hours a day in both directions. In order for me to meet my work and family commitments, I choose to cut back on vacations or eating out in order to afford living closer to work. When one has a demanding career, time matters and is what enables one to be present for their child. A lot of people manage this through flexible schedules and work arrangements. Being flexible with my staff, as long as work is accomplished and they are at their critical meetings, is important to me to enable other parents to have the quality time they deserve with their children.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

There are so many types of parents and approaches that work. Each child is unique even within the same family. I have six children and none of them are the same. A good parent creates a relationship with their child. They establish clear expectations and boundaries but also give room for a child to make their own choices and face their own consequences whether positive or negative. A good parent doesn’t always have to entertain their child, but they do enable the child to find things to do that they enjoy. I think letting a kid be bored every now and again is good for their creativity because it assists in creating their self-drive and self-reflection. A good parent also creates an environment for them to succeed, to feel safe and loved, and to know that no matter what they face in life, their family will always have their back.

Using teachable moments and supporting a growth mindset is important. One day, we had a thunderstorm raging, and I came home from work to learn that Aiden and his bike were missing. To our horror, Toga found them down by the creek boogie boarding. Aiden didn’t understand why this was dangerous, so we took the time to look at YouTube videos on flash floods with him and even had my friends talk to him about experiences that they had and the consequences that occur with that type of dangerous actions. A good parent doesn’t just tell the child what they did wrong; instead, they tell the child why it was wrong to do.

A good parent figures out how to be flexible and find time for themselves while also making time for their family. My oldest daughter grew up with me during the the last two years I was in college, and my friends would read their biochemistry books to her while I attended classes. My job for the Center of Business and Economic Research allowed me to bring her while I stuffed envelopes for surveys. I had my first child at 20 and refused to accept that I would not graduate in four years while being a single parent, working 20 hours a week, returning to rugby six weeks after she was born, and developing a child who thought rugby was a women’s sport. She had no idea boys even played rugby until she was eight.

Knowing my children through spending quality time with them and understanding fully development milestones enabled me to identify that my son had a speech delay and obtain the proper care for him. He is now blossoming, and although he has more work to do, had I not been present and identified signs to discuss with the pediatrician and advocate for his care, he would not have the immense vocabulary he has today.

A good parent creates structure and habits through consistency. They teach perseverance, grit, and hard work. Chores enable a child to feel accomplished but also feel part of a team. We all contribute to a family and as being a busy executive, it’s important for me to know my kids have learned how to do basic life tasks — what needs to be done and when. I also believe that I should help the kids with chores. On the weekend we can often be found scrubbing the walls, learning to clean a bathroom, vacuuming, and making it a race to see how we can get done with quality work but with fun! It supports the family unit. They learn that this is our house and we all have to take care of it.

Accepting each child’s learning style and figuring out what motivates them is important to obtaining the best from them and enabling them to be whatever they want to be in this life. Without being present, a parent won’t know their child’s interests. Aiden did not like to read. He loved math and science, and we taught him his times tables in 1st grade and he excelled. At the beginning of 2nd grade, he was at a kindergarten reading level, so every day we made him read for 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, and we now set the time for an hour (maybe without him knowing). We learned that Aiden loves zombies, fantasy, and mysteries, so that what we encourage him to read because it holds his interest. He’s now super excited about reading Harry Potter, Nancy Drew, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Through advocating at school and supporting him at home, he is reading at his current grade level and is slowly overcoming his challenges with words.

To summarize, being a good parent is supporting your children, but don’t over-parent and protect them so much that they cannot survive without you. Parents need to build self-efficacy in their children. Parenting is leadership, and Sheryl Sandberg defines leadership well: “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

Mikayla, my oldest, has had a vast array of ambitions beginning at a very young age. She loves animals, science, cooking and baking. At 5-years-old, she told me she wanted to be an “owner.” After talking to her more about what that meant to her, she explained that she wanted to own a business. Pretty big dreams for a 5-year-old! In high school, she wanted to be a veterinarian and even took a class to be a veterinarian technician. Unfortunately, Mikayla has asthma and eczema, and a career caring for animals was not going to be in her future. So her attention went to a different subject — anatomy and science. She’s always challenged herself to do more even when I was concerned she took on too much. She has the drive to explore, imagine and dream! Going into college she thought about being an athletic trainer. I talked to her about the education required and challenged her to think bigger, especially with her interest in science and anatomy, so she’s now looking at completing classes that give her the option to attend medical school or even focus on becoming a forensic psychologist. I believe supporting your child, leading through example, and helping them understand the characteristics it takes to be successful in life are essential in having your child dream big.

Embracing your child’s strengths is important for their self-worth and also to help guide them to be whatever they want in life. Ariana loves sports, is a talented dancer, and enjoys helping people. She recently volunteered to teach children with disabilities to ride a bike and dance. It gave her such a sense of accomplishment that the child she was helping learned to ride a bike and to share her love of dancing. When she turns 14, she has been asked to help in the Acrobatics level I dance class. I will have to maneuver my schedule to support this, but it’s imperative to her development and showing her that she can have a career in the arts.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

Success is doing what I love every day: being able to spend time with my children that creates emotional responses that they will remember throughout their life. Success is creating an environment where my children have a growth mindset, learn the characteristics of hard work, grit, determination, perseverance, kindness, and believe in themselves. Being successful at work means being an authentic leader: building teams, delivering solutions that modernize the way work happens, knowing what needs to be done and who is the best person or team to perform the task. At home and work, it’s understanding priorities, limitations, accepting myself for who I am and what I can accomplish, and being resilient. In addition, success is demonstrating through my dedication at work and home that if I want something, I can achieve it. Success is also being able to co-parent with my step-daughter’s mother, especially in creating moments that as a blended family we are still family no matter the miles between us. It is supporting my daughters in their relationship with their extended family. Furthermore, success is exhibiting the values we find in Fa’a Samoa and applying it across all aspects of our lives. We’ve been able to mix the culture and values I grew up with in America under the leadership of a military father and a loving mother with the living culture of Samoa, which is where Toga grew up. The values taught through Fa’a Samoa of Love, Respect, Generosity, Spirituality, Service, and Reciprocity, to name a few, are easily embraced and mirror the values of my childhood. Samoans are known as the “Happy People,” and laughter and jokes are ever present in our household, which is what I strive to have in my family. The traditional lifestyle revolves around family, so no matter how busy I may be in my career, my family is integral to that success. Success becomes not only what one is able to accomplish but is heavily rooted on how well the team performs. I have more emphasis on the team/community than on myself, and this starts at home.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

Legacy by James Kerr is a brilliant book on building great teams and applying key leadership principles based on the world’s most successful sports team, the New Zealand All Blacks. Its practical lessons can be applied to one’s homelife. Lessons include never being too big to do the smallest task, always doing what needs to be done without being asked, and constantly striving for improvement even when you are at your best. All these lessons are core aspects in my parenting style.

The Whole Brain Child by Dr. Dan Siegelwhich helps provide perspective on how a child’s brain works and how to work with them in their development stage. This is very important raising six children who, for the most part, are always in a different stage.

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a great book on building relationships and learning how to motivate people both at work and in the home.

Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose between Right and Right by Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr. is an interesting book as it digs deeper than some other business books, and I find it relates to leadership as much as it does parenting.

TED Talks. I know podcasts are in but I continually go back to TED Talks, which include short talks on everything a parent would want to know and from different perspectives. Sometimes reminding us that, yes, children need direction but just to back off a little bit and let the child breathe, and to sit and do nothing instead of rushing from one activity to another. Sometimes TED Talks gives a glimpse into ideas and topics that are brand new to me and I can dig deeper if I want. The talks are my standby when I feel frazzled and just need to concentrate on something light.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Life gets pretty hard and being an executive, a partner, and a working mother of six means I need inspiration to draw from to reframe my mindset and stay positive. Sometimes things really hit the fan and life has to be taken in strides. I have several quotes that I have drawn on throughout my life. They help me reframe and focus on gratitude. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. “Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets! So love the people that treat you right, forget about the ones that don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it, if it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it!” -Harvey Mackay
  2. “You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.” -Coehlo
  3. “Happiness is an attitude of mind, born of the simple determination to be happy under all outward circumstances.” -J. Donald Walters
  4. “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” -Brian Tracy
  5. “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” -E. E. Cummings
  6. “Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.” -Plato
  7. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” -Lao Tzu

I embrace every day as an opportunity to be better than I was the day before. Some days I succeed and some days I fail. But, I always know that I will have more opportunities than not to figure it all out!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

As I stated with my quotes, I would encourage others to realize that each morning you can be better than you were yesterday. Each day is an opportunity to do something great. If you were a smoker yesterday, you don’t have to be today. If you were supposed to work out or walk yesterday and didn’t, you can do it today. If you made a bad choice yesterday, you don’t have to do so today. Everything is brand new if you see it that way. Make an intentional focus every day on at least one thing you really want to conquer, and you’ll soon see that this focus becomes habit, and that habit will move you forward until pretty soon you’re accomplishing the goals you have set out to reach.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

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About the author:

Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.

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